On July 11, Vertex announced that it had reached an agreement with ViaCyte to acquire the latter for $320 million, with the aim of accelerating the advancement of VX-, a cell therapy for the functional cure of type 1 diabetes (T1D) VX-880.
By acquiring ViaCyte, Vertex has acquired complementary assets, capabilities and technologies, including additional human stem cell lines, intellectual property on stem cell differentiation, and a GMP manufacturing facility for cell therapies, which can accelerate Vertex’s ongoing T1D program. In addition, Futai Pharmaceutical has also obtained 3 cell therapies under development, including VCTX210, a novel low-immunity stem cell asset jointly developed by ViaCyte and CRISPR Therapeutics.
VX-880 is an investigational allogeneic stem cell-derived, fully differentiated, insulin-producing islet cell therapy with the potential to restore the body’s ability to regulate glucose levels by restoring islet cell function, including the production of glucose-responsive insulin. It is delivered by infusion into the hepatic portal vein, while maintenance immunosuppressive therapy is required to prevent immune rejection of islet cells.
In 2019, Vertex reached an agreement with Semma Therapeutics to acquire the latter for $950 million in cash, and obtained VX-880. In March 2021, VX-880 was granted Fast Track designation by the FDA.
Currently, VX-880 has achieved proof-of-concept through an ongoing Phase I/II study with proven safety and efficacy. The results showed that both patients treated with half the target dose achieved glucose-responsive insulin production, improved glycemic control, and reduced the need for exogenous insulin.